Around the rock tonight
Just for once, the Celtic Sea has been utterly calm since last night for the competitors in the Mini Fastnet.
One after the other, competitors got caught up in holes only managing to achieve speeds all 0.5 knots. As a result it’s tightened up the front of the fleet and there have been precious few options available to get out of the lulls. The fleet has spread out from east to west with varying degrees of success.
In the Protos, Gahinet/Mouly duo (Watever-Nautipark) did a good job of negotiating this delicate part, and should lead around the Fastnet lighthouse later this afternoon. In the Series class, Justine Mettraux and Isabelle Joschke on Teamwork are also holding onto their lead after some serious frights in the rankings last night as parts of the pack fell one by one into areas of dead calm.
This situation did, however, bring the silver lining of tightening up the game both at the front and at the heart of the fleet.
Mettraux and Joschke, were at a complete standstill early last night, and had to watch as their rivals caught them up however, they managed, little by little, to regain their lead. This afternoon they are leading by two nautical miles ahead of LMS (Chaigne/Chenard).
Three of their direct competitors - Damien Cloarec/Gildas Mahé (Lomig), Ian Lipinski/Charlie Pinot (Pas de futur numérique) and Clément Bouyssou/Paul Mariette (No War) – tried a westerly route that didn’t pay off particularly well, and they are currently sitting 6 to 7 nautical miles behind the leaders.
In the Protos, on the other hand, it was thanks to a westerly route and clever navigation that Gahinet/Mouly were able to hang on to their lead. They have put three miles on the three other boats that have managed to get some way ahead of the pack: Chasseur de prime (Bertrand/Pulvé), Roll my chicken (Segre/Raison) and Mare (Riechers/Brasseur). Those who chose the easterly route, however, have lost ground, following Mécénat chirurgie cardiaque (Léopold Léger/ Léopold Léger) and Teamwork (Delesne/Canevet), Prysmian (Pedote/Bourguès).
The leading competitors should round the Fastnet late afternoon today. The sailors will quickly forget the long hours of dull sailing that they have had to endure. Downwind, on a direct route for Douarnenez, the joys of zipping along will only be all the more wonderful!
And, as the French say that good news never comes alone, a 15 knot northwesterly breeze is due to make an entrance from tomorrow morning, becoming 17 to 23 knots in the afternoon and maybe up to 25 knots for Friday!
It looks like the rhythm of this Mini Fastnet is about to change radically. As is so often the case – the race is far from over!